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Old 08-09-21, 17:34   #1
Ghaleon4
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Default Inconsistent frame pacing in TR1

Hello everyone!
Been struggling to nail down this problem on and off for the last year and a half. Now that I've duplicated the issue on three separate machines I figured I'd start posting online to see if anyone has an idea.

Old retired desktop:
Windows 10
Intel i5 4960k
8GB RAM
Nvidia GTX 970

Fancy desktop:
Windows 10
Intel 10700k
16GB RAM
Nvidia GTX 970 (same gpu as above build)

Mid-range laptop:
Windows 10
Intel i5 (don't have model memorized; I'll go look if relevant)
8GB RAM

I have experienced this problem with both the 'Automated Fix' and the 'Tomb Raider Retail Fix' that are outlined on pcgamingwiki.org.

In most cases, the game runs okay at first. Smooth and even 30 FPS; feels great. Next thing I know, it starts hitching as I pan the camera around or turn Lara. I finally realized that this is not completely random. I can trigger bad frame pacing by picking up an item, using an item on a trigger (like the gears in lost valley), sometimes by entering the pause menu, and sometimes by entering the pause menu and then pressing up/down to view inventory or options. When bad pacing is introduced, I can usually just pause/unpause, but like the previous sentence, sometimes I have to go up or down to one of the sub-menus.

I've distinctly noticed that the screen flickers (a single frame of solid black) when navigating the up/down menus in the pause screen, and I think this directly correlates with getting the game to sync back up with the display/gpu.

I've tried getting some analytics on performance with tools like RTSS, but I'm convinced that whatever data it shows is not relevant to the actual game. Like, it's weird, but I strongly suspect that there's some kind of dual video overlay or compositing -which goes back to that bit about the screen flashing for a second in the pause menu. For this, I don't think RTSS is giving me good frametime data in the graph I'm looking at. Maybe it has something to do with the marriage of DosBox, this old game, and the mods we're using to update it.

I have since learned that setting my display's refresh rate to 30hz helps a LOT. At 60hz, nothing I do seems to affect or fix pacing; it's just trash all around. At 30hz, at least I can fiddle with the pause menu every 5 or 10 minutes to get it running smoothly again.

If I use RTSS to lock the framerate to 30, the graph smooths out completely -but in reality it looks like every. single. frame. is out of pace.

I've also noticed that regardless of any settings I try to apply to the glrage.ini file, it must not be possible to achieve exclusive fullscreen mode, only what looks like fullscreen borderless -and I wonder if figuring this out might be a way to solve my problem.

So those are all the details I can think of, and I really really hope someone has an idea. In any case, I've been a long time lurker and this community is the bee's knees!
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Old 08-09-21, 18:11   #2
Ghaleon4
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Welp.
After this post, I decided to go back and try to force VSync through the Nvidia control panel and the problems have vanished -even though the game is configured to use vsync natively. I feel kinda dumb if this fixes it but I won't be sure of myself until I've played a couple more levels. Also, if this fixes it, it means that even though each frame was being synced to the display (no tearing), this game must not talk to WDM at all (or something? I'm not THAT technical...).
Also, with VSync forced through NVCP, 30hz and 60hz seem to be identical performance wise.
In any case, I'll be back with more info later today I hope.
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Old 08-09-21, 20:40   #3
tlr online
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Thank you for the update, this may be helpful to others.
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Old 08-09-21, 21:10   #4
Ghaleon4
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After about 3 hours of continuous play, I'm happy to report that this is a 99% fix!
I think it lost frame sync like, once. I love this game again.
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Old 09-09-21, 12:22   #5
Ghaleon4
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Another update, this time on my notebook/laptop.

Tried forcing VSync with the Intel drivers, but this somehow breaks 3d rendering in the game such that when you reach the main menu, there are no floating menu icons. If you navigate the menu blindly to start a new game, the intro videos play, but upon loading in to the first level the screen is blank. So I got a bright idea to disable the fullscreen_hack option in glrage.ini to false. At first, I ignored the missing video in order to get in-game, and voila, the game is BUTTERY SMOOTH! Now how to deal with these blank videos? Based on the description of why this option exists, it gave me the idea to see what happens if I toggle to windowed mode and back to fullscreen while a cinematic is being played -and yup, the cinematic suddenly becomes visible -and toggling back and forth like this can be done quickly in less than a second. So decided to bind alt-enter to the 'share' button on my DS4 (the equivalent of the universal 'select' button from the NES days).

To summarize my laptop with Intel Graphics:
With Forced VSync in the Intel drivers, disabling the fullscreen_hack option, and with alt-enter bound to a button on the gamepad, it now has smooth FPS and the FMVs are visible again as soon as I double-tap the share button on my DS4.

Last edited by Ghaleon4; 09-09-21 at 12:25. Reason: typos
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Old 11-09-21, 06:19   #6
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Thank you for your updates!

I'm sure this can help people facing similar problems
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